The ongoing restrictions and concerns around Covid-19 demand a different approach this year to our national celebration of poetry. Organisers have made the difficult decision not to proceed with co-ordinating an official Phantom Billstickers National Poetry Day in 2020. Instead they are turning 21 August over to poets countrywide to unleash the power of poetry in their own fashion.

The New Zealand Book Awards Trust is still able to provide some support to event organisers. Poster and social media templates bearing the NPD logo and 21 August 2020 date will be made freely available to anyone who want to use them. And National Poetry Day co-ordinator Erica Stretton will continue to assist with posting details of events via the NPD website calendar and social media platforms.

“We know how much the day means to so many,” says National Poetry Day committee chair Karen Ferns. “But there are a lot of elements and costs to be taken into account in running the campaign successfully on a national scale, and after careful consideration the New Zealand Book Awards Trust and sponsor Phantom Billstickers reached the mutual decision that it was not practical this year.”

Although the Trust is unable to provide seed funding for events or co-ordinate media this year, 21 August is still a day to promote, explore and enjoy poetry, says Ferns. “Many of the regular events that take place don’t rely on outside resources and there are numerous creative ways that people celebrate poetry in their own environments.”

National Poetry Day’s future looks bright, with sponsor Phantom Billstickers committing its ongoing support to the event for a further three years from 2021.

“We’re gutted that it’s not possible to fully back National Poetry Day this year in these extraordinary times, but our love and support for poetry is undiminished,” says Phantom Billstickers managing partner Jamey Holloway. “We can’t wait to unleash the power of poetry again in full force in 2021, and beyond.”

Requests for National Poetry Day 2020 design collateral and website and social media promotional support should be directed to Erica Stretton by email at